i’m not really so much into hotel reviews. firstly, my experience in the hospitality industry has taught me how difficult it is to please everyone and secondly the annoying phenomena of probabilities has made for some hair raising adventures at establishments that are otherwise known for their consistency and quality… anyone can have an off day.
the other reasons why i’m reluctant to review hotels is that i’m especially conservative when it comes to concepts like designer hotels and pretty unforgiving in the area of ‘disposable luxury’.
modern hospitality theory dictates that one should have all the bells and whistles to qualify for a star rating of some sort, and i would have agreed had it not been for some interesting low brow places that i came across recently… cue my contradictory feelings on the success of philippe starck and mama shelter.
although small private run establishments have been around forever, the more organized versions of it has been minimal. the unique small groups of hotels that have surfaced under the auspices of rocco forte, philippe starck and others like thierry costes, has done a great deal for the evolution of hospitality.
my feeling is that the traditional star rating has outlived its use in this regard and as guests turn more and more to reviews than brochures of amenities, it seems likely that its future will be put to the test. as a drakonian rating method it has already been acknowledged as inadequate with the addition of a six star, seven star, eight star plus… which to me, like the one potato, two potato, three potato thing, just lands you with a whole bag of potatoes.
ratings like those of tablet hotels provide more insight into the experience and expectations of the hotel, and whereas one should require some measure of consistency, i believe some smaller hotel groups have been able to trump the five stars on charm alone (without the obligatory coffee maker or toothbrush warmer that is punted as the paragon of luxury). the luxury of otherness is what these descerning establishments are competing with. i’ll probably be the last to say no to a dinner at the ritz but it doesn’t change the fact that small innovative hotel chains are setting a new benchmark for luxury travel; and good for them. i second the move away from the hyatts, carltons, hiltons and such, in favour of more flavour. i believe the price wars have just started and unless the rating system of these hospitality monoliths adapt to the need for integration with their patrons, they will likely end up as museums to a former era of luxuriousness. unique is fast becoming the new luxury of the decade.